RNZWCS celebrates its 20th anniversary

December 11, 2023, marks 20 years since the establishment of Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (RNZWCS) Limited – whose development activities have included aid to nations across the Pacific, as well as India, Timor Leste, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania and Eswatini.

Included in the phenomenal 127 recorded grants RNZWCS has achieved, some of the most notable are the continuing partnership with Rotary Pacific Water for Life in Fiji, the establishment of a Science and Technology Discovery Centre and an outreach program in Samoa, COVID mitigation and recovery in Tonga, and the establishment of two rural markets and a dairy processing factory in Tanzania.

In addition, disaster response appeals have supported communities in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands and in Australia and New Zealand (most notably the Christchurch earthquakes, and the bushfires and drought in Australia), tsunamis in Samoa and Tonga, and floods and cyclones whenever they have occurred.

None of this support could happen if it wasn’t for the generosity of Rotary clubs, Rotarians, the New Zealand public, estates, philanthropic trusts, and corporates providing donations, with all donors encouraged to select activities and the territory they wish their donations directed to.

RNZWCS also facilitates the repurposing of equipment for gifting to Pacific country communities, filling containers in Christchurch and Rotorua. There is an ongoing need for school furniture, stationery and readers, hospital equipment and consumables – particularly for people with disabilities.

Prior to RNZWCS being a charity registered with New Zealand Charities, the organisation had operated as a Multi District Rotary Activity, registered October 28, 1985, as ROAP (Rotary Overseas Aid Projects).
Included in its activities, ROAP introduced and promoted EMBOX Emergency Box Project, a British Isles Rotary activity in existence from 1975. For many years, the EMBOX project was a focus within three New Zealand districts, which distributed different boxes filled with used goods donated by Rotarians.

Following an independent review in Fiji, RNZWCS adopted a national standard for the now Emergency Response Kit (ERKs). Since transitioning to ERKs, RNZWCS continues to survey the end user and adjust the contents accordingly. RNZWCS retains stock pre-positioned in Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and Auckland for immediate response in collaboration with the in-country National Disaster Management Office.

In 1995, ROAP was given the opportunity of reinstatement as an approved Non-Government Organisation if it could be shown to be a national entity. It was also determined to change the name to RNZWCS, in line with Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS). In 2003, the committee took advice from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and on December 11, 2003, RNZWCS Limited came into existence.

RNZWCS maintains regular contact with successive Ministers of Foreign Affairs, briefing them on Rotary’s response to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and this advocacy has resulted in significant New Zealand Government support.

RNZWCS has a board of directors committed to world community service, as well as engaging consultants to assist with the preparation of concept notes, design documents, applications, and reports.

MAIN PICTURE: A young boy from Navakawau Village, Taveuni Island, Fiji, taps water from a tank supplied through a RNZWCS funded partnership with the Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation (RPWLF).